Subject: UN Refugee Agency To Resume Work In W Timor

Associated Press August 29, 2000

UN Refugee Agency To Resume Work In W Timor

GENEVA (AP)--The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees decided Tuesday to resume its operations in West Timor after a six-day suspension that followed an attack on three of its workers by pro-Indonesian militia members.

The agency made its decision after Indonesian officials promised a thorough investigation and said two of the men involved in last week's attack had been arrested and will be charged in court.

"We were assured that measures will be taken to ensure the safety and security of aid workers in West Timor," spokesman Kris Janowski said.

But "a just and lasting solution to the refugee problem" depends on troublemakers being separated from other refugees, and law and order being imposed in West Timor's sprawling refugee camps, he added.

Three UNHCR workers were badly injured in the attack with machetes, clubs and stones last Wednesday.

UNHCR suspended its operations, complaining that the Indonesian military was doing nothing to stop militia gangs from staging attacks or from setting up roadblocks to prevent refugees returning from Indonesian West Timor to their homes in East Timor.

East Timor voted for independence Aug. 30, 1999, in a U.N.-sponsored ballot. Afterward, tens of thousands of people fled their homes when pro-Indonesia militiamen reacted by going on a violent rampage.

More than 250,000 people flooded into West Timor. Some 170,000 refugees have since returned.

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